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The Strategy of Social Change: Support for Black Lives Matter as Advocacy, Solidarity, and Allyship
The struggle for social change has different meanings for members of different racial groups. For Black Americans, Black Lives Matter (BLM) is about their own lives as well as the lives of others, whereas for Hispanic, Asian, and White Americans, BLM is primarily about the lives of others. We examine how this difference influences: (a) how individuals think about engaging with BLM, (b) how much they support BLM, and (c) what motivates their support for BLM. Black American participants in our studies showed more self-focused attention when thinking about BLM, and stronger support for BLM than Hispanic, Asian, and White American participants. Across these four racial groups under study, impact-oriented strategic thinking—thinking about how one’s actions influence others—predicted support for BLM. We discuss implications of these findings for research on intergroup relations, social movements, and strategic thinking.